EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Casey Kreiter plays a position where anonymity is good, and recognition normally happens only because of a mistake. But Kreiter received some very welcome attention when his teammates selected him one of the Giants' 10 captains for the 2022 season.
"As a long snapper you kind of do your job," Kreiter said. "And when people don't say your name, that's a good thing. This is one of the times it's good people are saying your name."
The team's other captains are Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley and Andrew Thomas on offense, Xavier McKinney, Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence on defense, Graham Gano and Cam Brown on special teams, plus Julian Love, who received numerous votes as both a safety and special teamer.
"He got a good amount of votes on both sides, so he was the last one we announced this morning after the walkthrough," coach Brian Daboll said of Love. "But all well-deserved, I think. All of them exhibit good leadership, and I think that's a testament to them that they're voted on by their peers. So, those will be our captains."
View photos of the New York Giants' 2022 roster as it currently stands.
Love said "it's very possible" he picked up some special teams votes when he successfully stepped in as the emergency holder in the preseason victory against Cincinnati on Aug. 28. He assumed the role after Gano suffered a concussion and punter/holder Jamie Gillan replaced him.
"Obviously, as a guy who has played probably the most special teams snaps in this building, I'm excited about it," he said. "I've got a little bit of love from both sides of the ball."
Barkley was selected a captain for the fourth consecutive season, Jones for the third straight year and Gano is a two-time selection. The other seven players are first-time captains.
"Very appreciative to be voted and recognized as a captain," Jones said. "That's something that I take very seriously. I think we all do. To be a captain is a tremendous honor. We've got a lot of great leaders on this team, guys named captain, guys not named captain, I think we've got a lot of great leaders and people who have influence; who all want the same thing, and that's to win."
"It's definitely an honor when your teammates vote you to be one of the leaders on the team," said Thomas, the former first-round draft choice who is entering his third season as the Giants' left tackle. "I don't think it stops there. I'm working every day to be a better leader, to be a better player – not just for the offensive line but for the whole team."
Since his arrival, the public Thomas has been neither talkative nor emotional.
"I'm definitely more of a quiet guy," he said. "Rookie year, it was even worse. I speak when I can, not a big rah-rah guy, but when I speak, most of the time people listen. That's the way I approach it.
"At the end of last season, in some of my exit meetings the biggest thing for me was to take the leadership role. A lot of times, I was focused on myself getting better – going through the struggles. The next thing for me is to be more vocal, lead by example and help the team in any way I can."
McKinney's selection to captain seems like a logical step for him because of the additional responsibility he assumed this summer. When the starting defense was on the field in practice or preseason games, he became the player who received the calls from coordinator Wink Martindale and relayed them to his teammates. That role is normally reserved for a linebacker, but McKinney was given the green dot on his helmet, signifying the duty was his.
Becoming a captain further authenticates his leadership chops.
"It means a lot," McKinney said. "It's obviously an honor to be voted by my teammates, the guys that I go to work for every day, the guys that I grind with every day. It's always meant a lot to me to become a captain. It says a lot about what my teammates think about me as a person and as a player. It's honoring, I'm happy, but I've got to keep going and keep getting better each day."
Love was gratified and happy to be elected as one of the captains.
"I'm not going to lie, it means an awful lot to me," he said. "I've never been a captain in my entire life, and to do it for the Giants of all places at the highest level, it's hard not to get emotional about it. It's often that I feel like people have always wanted me to be more outspoken, wanted me to be the rah-rah guy, wanted me to be the muscle-head, all that stuff. But this team has appreciated me for staying true to myself. So, I'm extremely grateful."
Perhaps the most unexpected captain is Brown, who did not start any of the 27 games he played in his first two NFL seasons. But he has been a regular contributor on special teams, where he has 15 tackles.
"This means I have to work harder," said Brown, who was a captain at Penn State. "I have to make sure I'm a representative of the team in everything I do. Make sure that every rep I do it reflects what we want as a Giants standard.
"I have to be a leader on and off the field. Be a leader in meetings. Be a leader when guys need questions, when certain things aren't clear, being able to clear it up so everybody doesn't have to go to the coaches. Be that middleman for the coaches on special teams and on defense."
Kreiter had similar sentiments.
"I think the goal is not to be voted a captain, the goal is just to go about your business like you are a leader and a captain," he said. "Whether I got the honor to be one or not, I wasn't going to change the way I do things. And the fact that I'll have a 'C' on the jersey isn't going to change the way I do things. I'm going to continue to help this team, try to bring the young guys along and just make sure we're doing things in the special teams room to help us win games."
Daboll expects to rely heavily on his captains.
"We'll have weekly meetings, and they're the voice of the locker room," he said. "I think that'll encompass a lot of different things. We'll just let it happen organically. That's how we'll approach it."
If he chooses to, Daboll could summon perhaps the NFL's largest contingent for a pregame coin toss.
"But we'll only send out a couple, not all of them," he said.
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